Neesham, Qadir guide Zalmi to their second win

By our correspondent

KARACHI: James Neesham’s all-round performance and Usman Qadir’s clever bowling shepherded Peshawar Zalmi to their second win from three games when they downed Quetta Gladiators by four wickets in their match of the HBL PSL 8 here at the National Stadium on Monday night.

Qadir (2-26), Neesham (1-28) and Arshad Iqbal (1-37) enabled Zalmi to restrict Quetta to 154-4. Neesham (37) and Rovman Powell (36) then helped Zalmi to chase the target with nine balls to spare after losing six wickets.

Set to score 155, Zalmi had a fiery start, scoring 29 in the first two overs. In the third over Mohammad Hasnain removed aggressive Mohammad Haris and Saim Ayub (0) off two successive deliveries to level the pendulum.

Haris, caught at mid-off by Jason Roy, smacked four fours in his rapid nine-ball 18. Hasnain then had Tom Kohler-Cadmore (9) who played with an angling bat and found Naseem Shah at the deep third man who took a nice catch.

Kohler struck two fours in his run-a-ball brief effort. Jamaican Rovman Powell joined Babar and the duo seemed in good touch but left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz had Babar, trapped lbw with the review confirming the on-field umpire’s decision. Babar struck 18-ball 19 with three fours. Powell and James Neesham then batted sensibly and shared a 46-run partnership to brighten their team’s chances of a successful chase. Sarfaraz made a good change in bowling, brining in Naseem Shah and he clean bowled Powell with a nasty yorker to leave Zalmi at 113-5 in the 13th over.

Powell hammered two sixes and three fours in his 23-ball 36. After the fall of Powell, Neesham used long handle before being removed by leg-spinner Qais Ahmad of Afghanistan after the left-hander smacked him for a huge six and two fours in the 15th over of the innings to bring his side close to victory. Auckland-born Neesham hit two sixes and four fours in his fantastic 23-ball 37.

Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka (16*) and Wahab Riaz (10*) did not panic and did the rest of the job to add to their team’s points.

Hasnain bowled superbly by taking 3-13, which also included a maiden over he bowled against Wahab Riaz.

After being invited to bat Quetta Gladiators were at one stage 37-3 in the ninth over. However, Iftikhar Ahmed and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed shared 74 off 50 balls for the fourth wicket stand to revive the innings.

Arshad Iqbal (1-37) broke the dangerous stand when he bowled Sarfaraz with a splendid yorker. Sarfaraz struck five fours in his 30-ball 38.

Iftikhar then added 43 off 19 balls for the fifth wicket unbroken stand with Odean Smith to catapult Gladiators to a tricky target of 154-4.

Iftikhar brought in his first fifty of the event, and third of his PSL career from just 34 balls. He hammered four sixes and two fours in his superb unbeaten knock.

Odean Smith ably backed him by smacking an unbeaten 12-ball 25, striking four fours and one six.

Gladiators scored 66 runs in the final five overs. Usman Qadir was the pick of the bowlers with 2-26 in his quota of four overs.

Dasun Shanaka conceded 22 runs in two overs he bowled with his medium fast bowling.

Gladiators had a strange strategy of batting more defensively in the powerplay which yielded just 28 runs. Neesham (1-28) provided Zalmi with a fine breakthrough when he had Martin Guptill, who skied it with substitute Aamir Jamal taking an easy catch at mid-wicket position.

Guptill hit two fours from 16 balls. In the next over Usman Qadir bowled Jason Roy (14) with a googly with the English batsman going for a slog sweep but missed it.

Roy, who failed again, hit two fours from 23 deliveries. Qadir continued to dent Gladiators batting when in his next over he trapped Mohammad Nawaz (2) lbw with the review confirming the on-field umpire decision. And Gladiators were 37-3 in the ninth over.

Peshawar Zalmi made three changes by bringing in Dasun Shanaka, Usman Qadir and Arshad Iqbal while resting Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Khurram Shehzad and Salman Irshad.

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